South India : Small group departure Itinerary
This two week program is going to be a small group tour with minimum 8 members and a maximum 14 members offered by Green Earth Trails - South India tour operator. The tour features some of the beautiful experiences in Kerala and the border districts of the neighbouring state of Tamil Nadu. The tour will be led by an accompanying English speaking guide and includes a bunch of interesting activities. You will be travelling to some of the most prominent destinations and be doing some of the best offbeat programs that would excite you making it a beautiful holiday of a lifetime.
Harbor cruise in the backwaters of Cochin
Full day exploring of Old and New Cochin along with a banana leaf lunch
Lunch with a planter at his plantation house
Learn the story of how Munnar became tea plantation center
Lunch at an old English Club
Visit a Tamilian Village, a typical school, weaving center and a coir factory
Explore the historical city of Madurai by late evening
Travel on a cycle rickshaw
Tamilian Flower market visit in Madurai.
Lunch at a Beautiful farm along with a tractor ride
Witness the Keralan martial art form of Kalarippayattu
Boat safari at lake Periyar (You might sight some wild beings of the forest)
Elephant safari and a bathing session
Spice garden tour along with lunch at the planters home
Visit a Tea Factory
Overnight on board a house with local cultural programs in the evening
Visit a coastal fish harbour.
Day 1 - Arrive at Cochin International Airport (COK), transfer to Fort Cochin
On you arrival at Cochin Airport, we would receive you at the airport and transfer to the old town, otherwise known as Fort Cochin. Kindly ensure that you arrive by a morning flight or at least a flight that arrives Kochi by noon. By evening everyone would be boarding a motorboat to cruise around the backwaters of Kochi. Kochi is surrounded by the Vembanad lake that is spread across 4 districts of Kerala, backwaters are an extension of the sea into the mainland and would be murky in nature. The cruise will extend to just more than an hours taking you up to the estuary where you can see the sunset. This would be more of an orientation tour to Kerala and Kochi. Return back to the hotel followed by dinner. Overnight stay at the hotel.
Day 2 -Explore the new and old Kochi by ferry - Full day tour with lunch
Today morning, we will meet up with all the group members at the front desk. After breakfast, we would be boarding a ferry to the new town, the new town, also the commercial capital of Kerala. Walk past the market like a local, have a lunch on banana leaves - The Kerala style. Drive to the old town to see the historic Dutch palace and the Paradeshi Synagogue, by the time you are out of the Jew town you are going to have a clear idea about the "Story of Kochi". Further, proceed to the witness the Classical Keralan Drama called "Kathakali" at a nearby Theatre. By the time it is going to be late evening and it would be time for us to head back to our hotel for dinner. Overnight at the hotel.
Day 3 -Drive to the Munnar hill ranges[4 Hour] & lunch at plantation villa
Pack your luggage and proceed to check out after breakfast. We are going to Munnar, a beautiful hill town in the Western Ghats of Kerala. Halfway through we stop by a plantation village where the host will take you around his plantation followed by a sumptuous lunch.
We drive up the hill ranges and reach Munnar post noon. After check-in at the hotel and walk to the nearby CSI Christ Church which was built of stones in 1910 by the British planters in Munnar. The hill ranges of munnar are mostly surrounded by vast tea plantation and most of the people here are from the Neighbouring state of Tamil Nadu.
Day 4 - Visit the Museum, an old British club, and a walk up the mountains
It is time to see around Munnar, after breakfast we will visit a tea museum where they have an audiovisual show about the story of Munnar and the tea. Further, we visit the Museum, where there are a few old items kept on display, that was once used by the earlier planters including machinery to process tea. We will visit a rehabilitation centre for children and women where they make creative things out of fabric, you would be amazed to see the beautiful things they make.
By noon we go to an old British Club for lunch, you are going to enjoy the ambience here and the stories of planters during the era of British India. Afternoon, we walk to the nearby mountain ranges to some beautiful viewpoint, from where you get an idea about the beauty of the Western Ghats in Kerala.
Day 5 - Drive East to a Tamilian Village, lunch at the homestead & village walk in the evening.
Check out from the hotel after breakfast, and we will drive east towards Tamil Nadu, the neighbouring state of Tamil Nadu. It is a different world altogether, you can see how the terrain changes when we head towards the home of Dravidian culture.
We would be staying at a homestead in the foothills of the Palani hills. On arrival, the lunch would be ready. As the sun sets, we will proceed for an evening walk through the countryside. Something different from what you saw in Kerala. Return back to the homestead and we will have the dinner and stay overnight there.
Day 6 - Tamilian village visit, proceed to Madurai - The temple city [2 hours]
After a healthy breakfast, proceed to the see around the village. A typical south Indian agrarian village where you visit the farm fields, coconut and mango farms, a typical village school, weaving centre and the coir mill. A different world where the life is in the slow lane, where you see happy smiling faces.
Further drive to the Temple city of Madurai, The marvellous Madurai Meenakshi temple is what the city is all about. On arrival, we check in at the hotel of stay and proceed to the restaurant for lunch. Post lunch we see around the Nayakar palace, from where we get on to a cycle rickshaw to the temple. Late evening we walk across Madurai market and drive back to the hotel for dinner and overnight stay.
Day 7 – Drive to Kumily, the cardamom hills of Kerala[3 Hours], on route lunch at a pomegranate farm
We would be visiting the flower market in Madurai, followed by a drive to Kumily. Before reaching Kumily we will by a pomegranate farm where we have lunch followed by a farm visit and a tractor ride through the farmlands of Lower Camp.
We drive to Kumily and check in at the hotel on arrival. Later that evening we will visit a local theatre where we would take part in a Kalaripayattu show. Kalaripayattu is a Keralan martial art form, It is also considered to be a ritualistic art. On returning to the hotel, the dinner will be served and overnight stay at the hotel.
Day 8 - Boat Safari, bath an Elephant, and a plantation tour followed by lunch with a planter
Early morning, we will proceed for a boat safari in lake periyar where there are chances to sight wild animals on the banks of the reservoir. The safari happens inside the Periyar National Park, which is one of the tiger reserved in the country.
Return back to the hotel for brekafast and proceed for an Elephant safari followed by a bathing session. Later we proceed for a spice plantation tour along with a planter followed by lunch at his place. Return back to the hotel, the rest of the day is at leisure, probably time for some good rest after a week long travel. There are options for some local shopping for spices, and other handicrafts.
Day 9 - Drive to Alleppey, the backwater town [4 hours]. Visit a tea factory on the way.
Pack your luggage as we would be checking out, and traveling to the backwater town of Alleppey. On the way we will visit a tea factory where different phases of tea processing would be explained in detail. Further as we travel South we will have lunch enroute at the "Plantation Bungalow"
Alleppey is fondly called the Venice of the East because of the beautiful canals and the sprawling backwater. This would be the only place on the planet where they do griculture below the sea leve. Everybody has a boat here and most of the public depend on public boat services to commute. This is one of the most facinating water worlds on earth.
Day 10 - Board a houseboat for the cruise and overnight stay, onboard cultural show in the evening
Board a Keralan Houseboat from the hotel of stay, by noon you will embark the house followed by a local Keralan lunch with pearl spot delicacies. The boat will cruise until 5 in the evening, afterwhich there will be an on board cultural show in the evening .
The cruise mostly is through narrow canals where you get to see the local backwater lifestyle and culture in close proximity. There are many churches and temple enroute. Farming, livestock and the local toddy are some of the interesting things to see and experience as part of this interesting backwater tour. Lunch and dinner would be onboard, the houseboat will be docked by evening and resume the cruise next day morning.
Day 11 & 12 - Mararikulam Beach. [30 minutes]
After breakfast, disembark the house and proceed to the last destination of your tour, the beach at Mararikulam - A quiant beautiful fishermen village on the shores of the Arabian sea, North of Alleppey. The beach would be a great place to enjoy the tropical beaity of the Malabar coast. There are bicycles available to move around. You can see fishermen coming back from the sea by evening and early morning and auction their catch either at the beach or the local fish market. These are certain exciting things to see and experience in and around Mararikulam.
The holiday is almost coming towards its end and the last two nights at Mararikulam would be a great way to enjoy the tropical beauty of coastal Kerala. There are options for beach extentions if you wish to stay longer at Mararikulam. Cochin is 60 kilometers, and Cochin International airport is 90 Kilometers from Mararikulam beach.
Day 13 - Departure Transfer to Cochin International Airport [2 hours]
The program includes
Accommodation in the below mentioned hotels / resorts in standard rooms.
The respective meals including breakfast, lunch and dinner are part of the program. Except the ones that are not part of the itinerary.
The transporation would be in a Van or a Mini Coach based on the number of participants of the tour.
There would be an English speaking accompanying guide who will be traveling along with the group.
Entry tickets and mandatory permits are included in the cost. however certain points of interest will have a camera / video camera ticket, which is not included in the price.
There would be one 500 ml bottle of water in coach per day.
Tips, Table drinks, shopping or expenses of personal nature are not included in the tour and has to be paid directly at the point of purchase.
This tour is organized as a group tour with a minimum group size of 8 members and a maximum size of 12 members
Once you have decided to go ahead with the tour, you will require to take an Indian Visa on your own contacting an Indian embassy or Indian missions abroad.
To confirm your participation we would require 50% of the tour as advance deposit. You can make this deposit with either by bank transfer or by credit card.
Kindly update us if there are any special requirements including meal preferences.
The tour does not come along with a travel insurance.
In case of any emergency, the required would be done by us as a tour operator within our limits.
The cancellation policy would be as mentioned below.